When I was writing the book, I Love my Mother But…, women would ask me what I was writing about. When I told them it was a book about mothers and daughters, immediately they said, “Oh, you should interview me. Let me tell you about my mother!”
Obviously mothers make a lasting impression on us and it seems we all have a few complaints no matter how good our relationship is. This is because of the great expectations we have for mothers.
Most of us know that our mom’s aren’t perfect, yet that doesn’t stop us from wishing they were. So we make our moms responsible for everything from our self-esteem to our choice of mates. And we expect moms to be superwomen. Then, when they don’t measure up to our unrealistic expectations, we feel disappointed, or cheated. In fact, we often accuse our moms of ruining our lives and blame them for all sorts of things.
We forget that we are responsible for our own choices and don’t realize that mom can’t give us what she doesn’t have. She can’t be all-knowing, all nurturing, all powerful and all giving. She is human and an imperfect woman –just like we are.
So lose those unrealistic expectations and look to another source to fulfill all your needs. The only perfect one is God. He’ll never disappoint or let you down because He is love. He chose you, accepts you unconditionally and highly esteems you. We do best when we work on completing ourselves through surrender to Him, releasing our past hurts to Him, grieving our losses and looking only to Him to complete us.
Years ago I had a favorite coffee mug. It looked like this: A shrieking woman was pulling out her hair, looking totally stressed, and screaming, “EEEEEEK I am my mother.” I laughed when I first saw it. Then I thought about it. The sentiment was funny, scary and true, all at the same time.
Even though we adult daughters like to pretend that we are nothing like our mothers– parts of her are in us. And that doesn’t have to be a frightening thought, even in the most negative cases. Because you can make changes. You aren’t a victim of your parenting and doomed to repeat every pattern ever past down the generational line. But the first step to making changes is always to ADMIT to the problem. So admit it. You are a unique woman and you are also like your mother. Those two realities can co-exist.
Next, do a quick inventory. List positive and negative ways that you and your mom are alike. For example, we both cry easily and get our feelings hurt, or we have that same tendency to be controlling, to yell at our kids, to complain when difficulty comes? Try to be very honest.
Then take the list, and focus on the negative items one at a time and begin to work on changing that behavior. With practice and ongoing awareness, you can make changes. And remember, every mother gives something good to her daughter.
In the same way I remind parents to catch their children being good and praise them, adult daughters need to periodically “catch their mothers being good” as well.
The next time someone says, you are so much like your mother, smile and accept the compliment or work on making changes.
I couldn’t sleep last night. My mind was racing to solve a problem that needs immediate solving, but is out of my control. I know this is what sets up worry and anxiety so I put into practice what I wrote about in Letting Go of Worry. Here is a practical application from my own life.
First, I had to stop obsessing on what I could not control and accept the current circumstance for what it is and intervene where I can. So I got up, made a list of what I could do and then put the list away.
Next, I identified the thought behind the worry– “What if this situation doesn’t get resolved in time?” I wrote all the possible scenarios. In my head, I knew my options.
Then, I began to pray and give the situation to God. This is where trust kicks in. I have to trust that when I have done everything I can, God takes charge. I began to thank Him for being bigger than I am, taking care of my need, and focused on the truth–God is for me, goes ahead of me, asks me to cast my burden on Him. Why is it so hard to give our burdens to God ? At the heart of that reluctance is doubt in God. I was wavering in doubt. Forgive my doubt, help my faith.
Finally, I recited a few of the Psalms and drifted off to sleep.
This morning, I remain in trust, determined to take deep breaths, to begin my day in prayer and trust God to be who He is.
I just finished reading Donna Van Liere’s book, THE GOOD DREAM. This piece of fiction tells the story of a young woman growing up in the south during the 1950s who encounters a child who has been abused most of his life. Her actions to save the boy cost her a great deal, but it is her courage to confront evil and her selfless acts of love that bring a redemptive ending to a story that could have ended the child’s life.
The author tackles a difficult subject-the real impact of child abuse. But the story has a redemptive ending that will make you smile. It is that hope that must cause us to confront this difficult topic and not be afraid to stand up for children who are being abused. Van Liere gives the reader just enough insight into abuse to understand how it ravages the dignity of a person. In real life, the impact of such action often continues for years.
A message I hope every reader takes home from this book is that child abuse is a terrible thing that must be confronted. It is not OK to stand on the sideline if you suspect someone is being abused. I am reminded of the words of an old Phil Keaggy song, “Who will stand up for the little ones? Helpless and half abandoned.”Hopefully, the church.
Every state has child abuse laws that require us to report and respond to abuse. Click on this link to learn more about laws concerning child abuse.
If you or someone you know suspects child abuse, have the courage to report it and save a child.
Thanks Donna for your thoughtful work!